Adventure awaits in this fun-filled route across the Kenai Peninsula from Anchorage to Homer. Known as “Alaska’s Playground,” the peninsula is one of the few places in the state that combines vast, untouched wilderness with the amenities of a major city and the state’s famously quirky small towns. From glacier hikes, to sport-fishing, to snow-capped mountains, there’s truly no better way to get up-close-and-personal with America’s “Last Frontier.”
Boasting nearly 250 miles of trails within city limits, Anchorage offers the chance to enjoy the great outdoors without leaving town. Biking, hiking and horseback riding along the paved pathways are great ways to get the lay of the land, and you’ll almost certainly catch a glimpse of Anchorage’s most famous residents — the more than 1,500 moose that live in the city’s parks and green spaces. Head just 20 minutes from downtown to the nearby Chugach Mountains for everything from glacier hikes to rafting to fishing.
Anchorage Ship Creek RV Park • Anchorage, AK – (907)277-0877
Drive 48 miles • 1 hour
Less than an hour from Anchorage on the Seward highway, the must-see Portage Glacier rises nearly ten stories from the icy blue waters of Portage Lake. On land, the nearby Begich Boggs Nature Center features the Trail of Blue Ice, an aptly named 5-mile path that leads to up-close views of the valley’s glaciers and salmon-filled rivers. Portage is also home to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, a conservation nonprofit that offers guided “Walk on the Wild Side” tours to educate visitors and provide a unique chance to glimpse at the bears, moose and musk oxen that call the center home.
Drive 378 miles • 1 hour, 32 minutes
Nestled on the shores of Resurrection Bay, and with the Kenai Fjords National Park as a backdrop, the harbor city of Seward has long staked its claim as one of the most picturesque town in the state. The historic downtown bustles with boutiques and galleries, and the harbor is a sight in itself — fishing boats, water taxis and Coast Guard cutters line the docks. The water taxis are a great way to explore the bay’s coves and beaches, where you can observe otters, harbor seals and bald eagles in their natural habitats. Boat tours of the stunning Kenai Fjords National Park are easy to arrange in Seward and are a one-of-a-kind chance to see the whales, puffins and sea lions that fill the fjord’s waters. Back on dry land, take a quick 10-minute drive to Exit Glacier, where a sloping half-mile trail from the parking area brings the glacier within arm’s reach. This vast ice field crackles as it adjusts to temperature.
4. Cooper Landing
Drive 48 miles • 1 hour, 5 minutes
Founded by gold prospectors in the mid-1800’s, Cooper Landing has since become a mecca for visitors seeking a different natural resource — the stunning sockeye, coho salmon, Dolly Varden and rainbow trout that teem in the waters of the Kenai River. Be prepared to fill your nets. Spread out for several miles along the river’s shore, the historic town is home to numerous outfitters and guide services that can help make your visit to this fly-fishing mecca as memorable as possible. Downstream, the river builds to Class III rapids as it winds through the impressive Kenai Canyon, and whitewater trips are a popular and adventurous way to explore the Alaskan wilderness.
Drive 56 miles • 1 hour, 11 minutes
As the largest community on the peninsula, Kenai is a popular destination that draws visitors from around the world to enjoy its seemingly endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. Overlooking the mouth of the Kenai River, the city offers access to some of the world’s best sport-fishing opportunities on iconic stretches of water like the Kenai River and the nearby Russian River and Cook Inlet. Anglers should prepare for a one-of-a-kind experience — eight of the 10 largest King salmon ever recorded were caught in the Kenai’s bountiful waters. In spring and early summer, visitors should head to the Beluga Whale Lookout on the city’s coastal bluff to see these graceful swimmers.
Drive 81 miles • 1 hour, 39 minutes
End your trip in the place where Alaskans head when they go on vacation, the charming, colorful and truly unique city of Homer. Known as the “Halibut Fishing Capital of the World,” anglers will find plenty to keep them busy out on the water. Enjoying the bustling galleries, quirky boutiques and cozy restaurants that line downtown’s Pioneer Street can be an adventure in its own right. The wide array of choices make this town of 5,000 residents a surprisingly vibrant place to visit. A quick water taxi will land you across the bay in Kachemak Bay State Wilderness Park, 350-thousand acres of glaciers, mountains and coves. The park is a veritable paradise for kayakers, backpackers and campers, and boasts endless miles of trails to explore the majestic surroundings. The Homer Spit is a 4.5-mile-long sliver of beach jutting into the bay that buzzes with activity.